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Good Luck Scoring on SKC

SKC Goes Defensive in 2018 MLS Superdraft

Chris Uno Cero
January 19, 2018 - 2:57 pm

Sporting KC is a squad that has found its identity. Many teams in different sports struggle to find the one thing that they can build around long term. For the Patriots and Packers, it’s their quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers respectively. For the Golden State Warriors it’s the large number of elite 3-pt shooters and great backcourt. But for Sporting Kansas CIty, they have shown that stifling defense is their identity, and it’s going to make them a contender for years to come.

 

Sporting KC was the league’s best defensive team in 2017, allowing a league-low 30 goals in 34 games last season. The next best team was Toronto FC, who allowed 9 more goals. They played suffocatingly aggressive on that side of the ball, forcing teams to have to play conservative and giving themselves a chance to capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes. This allowed them to get points playing numerous top teams on the road. It also made Children’s Mercy Park a very hostile environment. That won’t change anytime soon after what they did in the 2018 MLS Superdraft.

 

Their first pick in the 1st Round was GK Eric Dick from Butler University. His Twitter username is @DaBrickWall00. That name isn’t just for show. He’s 6’5, 4 inches taller than the MLS’ best GK, SKC’s own Tim Melia. He was the highest-rated GK in the 2018 MLS Superdraft. With his length and athletic ability, he should be a natural at fortifying the goal, making it really difficult for opposing teams to get any easy scores. This forces teams to have to get creative against their defense, which is a tough task with the level of talent they have on their back line.

Speaking of the back line, with their second pick in the 1st Round, Sporting KC took CB Graham Smith from the University of Denver. He’s a guy with a lot of length at 6’3, something Peter Vermes is a big fan of. The big thing about this pick is that he was a MF when he was in college, so he’ll have to adjust to playing a new position at a much higher level than college. There are also questions about his ability to play on the ball and his athleticism, but he’ll have time to develop in the USL with SKC’s Swope Park Rangers since the team already has elite CBs in Ike Opara and Matt Besler. He does have a good ability to create points, with 6 goals and 7 assists in his 2 years at Denver.

Both picks signify a commitment to staying as strong defensively as they are now into the future. Great teams are always thinking ahead. Neither player will play anytime soon, giving them some time to develop in the lower leagues. I wouldn’t be surprised if they even let them go out on loan to gain more experience, especially Smith.

Vermes and the crew are committed to ensuring this team stays competitive and contending. Opara, Melia, and Besler don’t have to worry about looking over their shoulders anytime soon. But the team has solace in knowing that when those guys have reached the end of their primes, they have fresh troops ready to take their spots and keep this run going without missing a beat. Sporting fans should be able to enjoy good soccer at CMP for the foreseeable future.

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